Mary Fedden OBE RA

Mary Fedden OBE RA (1915 – 2012) taught at the Royal College of Art and went on to become a tutor in its Painting School. Among her students was David Hockney. She was made President of the Royal West of England Academy in 1984, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath, as well as an OBE. A painter of portraits, commemorative murals and still lifes, Fedden has a distinctive style which is notable for its vivid contrasting colours and playful approach to form.

‘Lulu’ is one of six works by Mary Fedden in The Women’s Art Collection, and one of her many paintings of cats in landscapes or domestic spaces. Lulu sits proudly and snugly in the centre. Her bright eyes and smile are picked up by the flowers next to her. Her upright pose imitates that of the typical still-life fruit bowl and vase.

The orange flower adorns the painting like a gift, and it is a scene of warmth and humour in spite of its otherwise largely monochrome colour palette. The painting ‘Lulu’ itself makes for almost as comforting a physical presence as a real cat.